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SitNews - Stories In The News - Ketchikan, Alaska
April 02, 2012

Front Page Photo By WESTON DAVIS

Flames of many colors
Front Page Photo By WESTON DAVIS


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Ketchikan: First Lady Sandy Parnell Announces Volunteers of the YearFirst Lady Sandy Parnell announced today the recipients of the First Lady’s Volunteer of the Year Awards. The six recipients were chosen by an executive committee of Alaskan community members.

Ketchikan resident Lisa Topping was selected to receive one of the First Lady’s Volunteer of the Year Awards. The First Lady’s Volunteer of the Year Awards are awarded to those who engage in volunteer activities within Alaska, show remarkable personal commitment to long-term volunteer service, or have made a substantial impact on their community or the state.

Topping works behind the scenes at the Ketchikan VFW and can regularly be found decorating the VFW hall for events. She is being recognized for her compassionate heart in reaching out to people who are in the hospital or homebound. The nomination for the award noted that she and her husband Gene bring sandwiches, flowers, reading materials, and friendship to those who are unable to move about on their own and that she brings cheer to the community of Ketchikan with her smile. Quoting the news release, "Families are also given a much needed break and are comforted knowing someone is staying with their family member while they are at work or running errands." Topping is also being recognized for her devotion to her country and to Alaska’s servicemen and women.

“It is an honor to continue this exceptional tradition that recognizes citizens who have given their time and talent to help others,” said First Lady Parnell. “Our state is blessed to have so many Alaskans dedicated to serving their communities, fellow citizens, and encouraging others in volunteerism.”  - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

Fish Factor: Good Report Card for Fishermen & More Observer Coverage By LAINE WELCH - Fishermen in the world’s largest salmon fishery at Bristol Bay are getting good grades for improving the quality of their salmon, and it’s boosting their bottom line.

Starting in 2008, two projects have tracked fish quality based on specific handling practices, and given individual fishermen scores on their improvements (or not).

“The two studies go hand in glove. First you get a score and understand where you are, and secondly, if you wish to improve, then you can start changing the way you handle your fish out on the water to bring your score up,” said Mark Buckley of Digital Observer, Inc., who created and oversees the project. 

“Of course, the bottom line is that higher quality fish sell for more in the marketplace,” he added. “We have been seeing the level of quality has been rising steadily in Bristol Bay over the past four or five years and at the same time, fish prices have come up. I’m not going to claim that the entire rise in fish prices is due strictly to quality, but I challenge anyone to claim the opposite.”  

The Handling Practices project in 2010 and 2011 studied 20 variables among the driftnet fleet in three districts: Naknek, Egegik and Ugashik.   

“If there are two things you can do in Bristol Bay to really improve quality, the top priority is to chill your fish.  The second thing is to lower the weight in the brailers. Try to distribute your fish among as many brailers as you can to try and keep the weight down around 200 pounds,” Buckley said.  “We were really surprised how much brailer weight affected fish quality.”

A third thing is to simply put a mat on the deck, or use a salmon slide that slides the fish from the roller toward the fish hold. - More....
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

Fish Factor: Policy Makers Hear From Seafood Industry Reps for the First Time By LAINE WELCH - For the first time ever, seafood industry reps were invited to brief policy makers in Congress on jobs and economic opportunities. Last Thursday the group presented a panel discussion called ‘Seafood Jobs in America’ to the Senate Oceans Caucus and an audience of 80 people. According to, it included representatives of twelve senators and even one from the White House, plus a large contingent from the environmental NGO community. Alaska Senators Lisa Murkowski and Mark Begich both made opening remarks at the event.

“Nobody else has really had this conversation,” said Bruce Schactler of Kodiak, director of the National Seafood Marketing Coalition which represents 75 industry groups.

“We need them to realize what a big deal it is. We’re talking $115 billion in sales, 1.2 million jobs, and actual income to people involved in the industry of more than $30 billion. This is a big deal and we want them to understand that,” Schactler said.

Panel members included Jack Brooks, CEO of J.M. Clayton Company of Maryland, a blue crab processor; Natalie Webster of the American Albacore Fishing Association in California;  David Veal, Director of American Shrimp Processors Association of Mississippi;   Dane Somers,  Director of the Maine Lobster Council, and Phil Lansing, a seafood economist and  Bristol Bay fisherman.

The panel pointed out that America’s seafood industry has a 14% market share right now, with the remainder coming from seafood imports.

“The reverse of that is we have an 86% market opportunity here,” Schactler said in a phone interview.

The Marketing Coalition aims to obtain long term funding from, among other things, duties and tariffs collected on seafood imports. The money would be distributed among five locally run regional boards to help grow consumer demand for US seafood. Coalition studies show that seafood industry jobs could increase by 20 % the value in some areas and fisheries could double.

Schactler has been traveling the nation for more than two years to promote the national group’s message. He said the lack of knowledge in Congress about the seafood industry is shocking.  

“I had no idea it was as invisible as it actually is.  They had no idea of the dependence of coastal America on local seafood,” he said. “They’ve never looked at   a boat as a small business. The more aware they are and the more people who get involved, they will understand a little help goes a long way, and the return on investment will be unbelievable.”  

Tax credit a business tool

Innovation can be time consuming and costly – but it also can spark private sector investments, business expansion and opportunities. That’s the intent of a bill before the Alaska legislature that gives a 20% income tax credit for research and development conducted by corporate taxpayers in Alaska.   

“For seafood companies that could include any work on increased protein recovery  and new uses for fish protein or other fish products,” explained Wanetta Ayers, director of  the Division of Economic Development at State Commerce.  “For example, one well known project is work that’s been done at Washington State University using microwave sterilization on fish proteins and that is moving into commercialization now.  All of those kinds of activities where you take basic research and movie it into the marketplace would be eligible under both the federal and state credit.” - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

Columns - Commentary

jpg Tom PurcellTOM PURCELL: President Obama's Health Care Soliloquy - President Obama, distraught by last week's Supreme Court oral arguments, which do not appear to bode well for his health care plan, gathered his inner circle. Inspired by Shakespeare's tragedy "Hamlet," he recited a tormented health care soliloquy:

A tax or not a tax, that is the question.

Would it have been nobler for middle-class citizens to openly suffer the slings and arrows of new taxation, necessitated by my federal overhaul of America's health care system, or better that we disguise our new taxes as "penalties and mandates" instead?

There is a cost for expanding coverage to those without health insurance -- a cost for mandating that private insurers cover pre-existing conditions and offer many other goodies that we politicians like to promise voters.

Only a naif would think that a 2,700-page law would not require new taxes to pay for it!

But the middle class does not understand what is best for them. And so we were forced to conceal and contort many complexities that would only frighten them and weaken their favor!

To get my health care bill passed by Congress two years ago -- to win support from fence-sitting politicians -- we had to avoid all mention of taxes on the middle class. We had to use the term "penalty" to conceal these taxes.

One way to create revenue without calling it a tax was to create an individual mandate. It would force able-bodied citizens who do not have health insurance to either buy it or pay a "penalty." - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012


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letter Bar Harbor Boat Launch and 3rd Avenue By Shari Fisher - Summer is just around the corner and we all know what that means, time to put the boat in the water and go have fun. I have lived on the last block of the 3rd Avenue (nearest Bar Harbor) for most of my life and one thing really drives me nuts: People who launch their boat and then drive up 3rd Avenue and leave their boat trailer parked on the side of the street and then drive off. - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

letter USS Enterprise as a bridge By Dee Armstrong - My husband was a commissioning crew member of this legendary ship. I just wanted to set the record straight - IF the ship was to be used for anything (that’s a BIG “if”), it would have NO nuclear elements, no reactors. It would be a shell. It is scheduled to be “gutted” of its propulsion system BEFORE it’s even decommissioned. That’s straight from the ship’s commanding officer and the Navy. - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

letter KETCHIKAN CHOOSES RESPECT By Diane Gubatayao - Last Thursday, Ketchikan community members of all ages marched together to “choose respect”. We were one of over 122 communities throughout Alaska to stand up and demonstrate that we each have the power to end domestic violence and sexual assault. But it goes beyond these issues. Respect is the foundation of all healthy relationships. Whether it is a parent disciplining a child, or one adult resolving differences with another adult, or a teacher instructing students, or young people learning how to relate to one another, respect is at the center. - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

letter Deployment By Brian K. and Julie A. Schum - Hello to our friends in Ketchikan, for those that remember us and may be interested I just wanted to pass along that our son, Seth K. Schum (K-Hi class of 2010) is being deployed with the 1st Marine division 1st combat engineering battalion to Afghanistan for 10 months next Thursday. His platoon will be quickly passing through Anchorage on the journey from Camp Pendleton CA. to begin combat patrols in Afghanistan. - More...
Monday PM - April 02, 2012

letter Carbon Neutrality of Biomass Energy By Eric Muench - This is a response to Paul Olson's criticism of the Southeast Integrated Resource Plan, in which he says that conversion to biomass energy would be harmful because, among other claims, it adds carbon dioxide to the atmosphere and is therefore not carbon-neutral . That is a misleading statement. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Funding for a Unuk River study By Victoria McDonald - Three years ago, in response to concerns about mine tailings damaging the Taku River, fishermen asked the Alaska legislature to fund a study documenting water quality on the river. The legislature appropriated $35,000.00 for a report on the Taku, with enough left over for a similar study on the Stikine. These reports have been extremely valuable when Alaska Dept of Fish & Game have worked with the Canadians on transboundary mining proposals. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Fund water quality monitoring on Stikine, Unuk, Taku By Tammi Meissner - I was born and raised in Wrangell, and I live here with my husband and two daughters. I am Tlingit and I practice traditional food gathering. My family has a cabin at the mouth of the Stikine River, the fastest free flowing navigable river in North America, where we often live and where we fish. This river is the source of salmon that my family relies on to sustain us year round, and is the source of salmon that contributes to our community s fishing economy. The Stikine is also an important spiritual and cultural resource. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter BOYCOTT ETCH A SKETCH By David G. Hanger - Pass this message forward via email, facebook, tweets & twitters, whatever.  Don’t buy a single Etch A Sketch; trash any of recent vintage that you have.  They are the product of slave labor. - More..
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter RE: USS Enterprise, Bridge By Peter Jacob - I'm writing this in response to James Dornblaser and Charlotte Tanner's proposal of using the USS Enterprise as a bridge to Gravina. - More...
Tuesday - March 27, 2012

letter USS Enterprise By Eric Riemer - So I'm pretty sure nobody has pointed out the complete ridiculousness of the idea to use an old aircraft carrier as a bridge to Gravina because the flaws are quite obvious if one spends even a few moments thinking about it, but after reading someone's positive response to the idea I cannot hold my tongue, so I beg your indulgence.. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Bridge By Mike McColley - I would like to see the bridge built. The job itself will help Ketchikan people benefit from carpenters laborers and all trades. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Nicholas’ Law By Nyna Fleury, Bessie Singleterry, Tim Booth, Loni Iingley-Mills, Chief Ely - We are looking for support in putting together a law that we can pass called Nicholas’ Law, where it would be against the law to be intoxicated while taking care of a underage child. Before we can take it to the legislators we need documentation from concerned parties. Police Officers, Social Services workers, Teachers, Daycare works, Parents (anyone) who can see a need in this law. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter Parking, Trash By Lisa Krieger - It seems to be the parking has been an isue for some time now. I notice a lot of people parking in Handicapped zones and they don't seem to be ticketed. In fact, in front of my own place, a peron was taking up two spots, which left the person behind them, take up another spot, which led us to park a ways from our own home. We called Law Enforcement.. they came in the area, had a Cruiser check it out... WE thought something would become of it and straighten it out.. nope... they just looked at the parking situation and drove off! - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

letter RE: Parking By David Wylie - Ms. Elliot we are talking about 2 different parking areas. I am talking about the Lower Centennial Parking. The one under the library parking lot. Now I don't doubt that they are giving out parking tickets. I just don't understand why this lot has now slipped through the cracks. - More...
Tuesday AM - March 27, 2012

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